COOKIE LACE DESIGN: FACING MY FEARS

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I am not wild about piping fine lines with Royal icing. They scare me to death. But truth is, they can make a cookie very special and festive, so I’ve been forcing myself to try them every chance I get. Lace design – aka Needlepoint – requires that you pipe quite a few of those fine lines side by side. It is time-consuming and I won’t lie, a bit stressful. But I am so glad I gave it a try!

It all starts by piping a grid that will hold your pattern, so you must decide on how many rows of little squares you’ll need. I decided to keep my first designs simple and just do a central ribbon of needlepoint.

Small deviations on the angle of a piped line risk being propagated on subsequent lines and the final design will show it. You might notice that the right side of my ribbon ended up slightly bigger. But I am still pretty happy with it, as I never imagined being able to do it.

I was a little more attentive (and lucky) on the blue cookie below, so the outcome was better…

I wanted to have a little shine on the lace, so I sprayed Diamond Dust right after piping, protecting the rest of the cookie with this super complex baking trick:

You can also do the needlepoint in a special shape… Just pipe the outline and then carefully add the rows. It is best to start at the center of the heart and move up and down from there. The pink cookies had been flooded in white icing and painted pink once fully set. The blue one was flooded with Sugarflair Royal Blue.

It is amazing what some cookie artists can do with lacework, one of the very best is Tunde Dugantsi, from Tunde’s Creations. She has a Facebook group where you can get plenty of advice and troubleshooting, and her book “Cookie Academy – Lace Design” is a great source to get started. Very detailed instructions, templates to practice, and so many ideas! I highly recommend it. Mind-blowing stuff. I am just taking small, timid footsteps in that path, and hoping to get less stressed out about it. It is all in the consistency of the Royal icing. The finer the lines, the more you’ll need to hit the consistency JUST right. Even if you might not be interested in the more intricate piping of needlepoint, fine lines have their place in simpler designs, like the guitar below.

Lace Design goes well with Etching, I think. Royal Blue from Sugarflair is superb for those…

And even when the lines are not super fine, you can make interesting patterns. I confess I had no idea where I was going with the one below, but I ended up liking it a lot…

If you’d like to try it, practicing on parchment paper helps a lot to make sure the consistency is right. I know many people like tipless bags for this technique, but I could not make it work, I used a number 1 PME tip. Next time I will go for the 00. Because the worst that can happen is…. being forced to eat the evidence!

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